The heat hummed above the tar, wavering in fearful oscillation. No cars or people in either direction. Only me, the road, and the red hills ahead. I stood still, peering at the desolate horizon. It was an infinite space of dirt and doom. My only choice was to take a step, hoping I would not find the land’s end.
That scene was a dream, not a nightmare. For in that celestial place- the wondrous desert- the ground lay untouched. It was barren of everything but me, earth, and God. I was under the place’s power, I was its one burden.
But that wasn’t real, and might never be.
In reality, the desert is the burden- to the human who treads in it. In reality, I am not alone with God, but upon a planet teeming with souls- surviving or suffering, or both. My existence is dry, and I am thirsty.
In reality, I walk too far, into too many dead ends filled with dusty questions. Who could I trust, or who do I love? What should I follow, and what should be defied? What cries should I respond to and what lies must I deny? The heat of life bears down upon me.
In reality, the heat was wavering, but not over an open land. I am in a land both beautified and damaged by human progress. It is not empty and pure, but lost and obscure. Walking is the only thing I can do. Is a nightmare, or just real?
God is there either way, upon the desert road that ever stays. And by following it I am quenched.
And they thirsted not when he led them through the deserts: he caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them: he clave the rock also, and the waters gushed out. -Isaiah 48:21